The Importance of Poka-Yoke Manufacturing in Long Supply Chains
Poka-Yoke is the Japanese term for “Error Proof”, a methodology first adopted by Toyota and aimed at ensuring the right conditions are in place before the next step continues in a manufacturing process. This “checks and balances” technique assists in preventing human errors and potential material defects that could develop throughout the process. It’s a technique that can be applied beyond the manufacturing industry and molded into everyday life. For example, it is impossible to turn off a car until the gear is shifted into park. This helps prevent tired and absent-minded drivers from causing very preventable accidents.
On a manufacturing level, Poka-Yoke production means ensuring two parts can only fit together one way when assembled, and in turn, the next step of assembly cannot be completed until the first is securely locked in place. All organizations implementing this methodology on their factory floor have their own processes, from color coded parts to arrows directing traffic. However, where Poka-Yoke becomes tricky to perform is when working with third party suppliers.
In a global sense, Poka-Yoke is any mechanism in lean manufacturing that helps avoid mistakes. This means having the right partners supplying and forming the parts is key to success. To be able to adapt to this Poka-Yoke practice, a supplier manufacturing a round tube for exercise equipment must have suitable capabilities for the process to flow smoothly. In the steel tube industry, some of these capabilities might include tube laser cutting, creating nonstandard shapes, or bending a tube. When suppliers fall short of executing this Poka-Yoke method into their standard routine, it creates a break in the supply chain potentially causing other organizations down the line to fail.
Overall, the right supplier is key to implementing any manufacturing strategy. Lock Joint Tube has worked with many clients to custom design parts that fit with the Poka-Yoke philosophy. Ask our experts today!
Written By: Annette Soloveichick